K. D. Wentworth
Nominated for the Nebula Award: Novelette
“Kaleidoscope” is madness. The story is exactly what the title suggest, a story told through the lens of a kaleidoscope. Ally Coelho begins to remember multiple versions of the same event, with different results. One time she found a dog and returned her to the owner. A different time the missing dog ran out into the street and was hit by a car. Her friend got married, split with the guy, no, caught the guy cheating, no – something else. As “Kaleidoscope” progresses Ally is less and less sure as to what real life is. Or who this guy Barry is that her friend set her up with.
It’s a great idea. I’m sure of it. The execution is, for the most part, interesting enough. Will there be resolution to the story? Will “Kaleidoscope” remain this mishmash of different possibilities all converging on Ally? That’s what makes the story interesting and why we keep reading, but is also ultimately why the story is unsatisfying. This is the central conceit of the story, but the lack of a grounding reality means that the longer the story goes on, the less I care about Ally and what is going on because while we root for happiness and a living dog, this may not have been the reality. There is nothing Ally is struggling to get back. As far as the reader knows for most of the story, this is just something happening to Ally.
So, I wanted to like “Kaleidoscope”, and I can appreciate the effort and attempt of the story, but in the end it doesn’t work.